Republicans in the Iowa House have elected a new leader, moving 35-year-old Christopher Rants of Sioux City up from Majority Leader to Speaker of the House — the top political post. Rants says the G-O-P’s number one goal is growth in terms of population, wealth, productivity, and the quality of life in the state. Republican legislators and Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack presented voters with two different approaches to growing the economy.Rants says with divided government — a Democrat governor and Republican Legislature — they’ll have to sit down and try to blend the two plans together. Fifty-four-year-old Chuck Gipp of Decorah was elected House Majority Leader, which means he’ll be in charge of the debate and committee calendars. Gipp says Republican legislative candidates did well while Democrats at the top of the ticket won and the G-O-P bucked an historic trend that the party out of control of the Legislature ends up winning the election after the legislative district lines are drawn. He says they had the candidates with the horsepower to draw the crossover votes. Out-going state Senator Steve King, elected as western Iowa’s new Congressman, last week suggested Republicans should do whatever they can to attack Democrat Governor Tom Vilsack in hopes of winning the Governorship for the G-O-P in four years. Gipp rejects that tactic.Gipp says the election is over and now it’s time to govern. Also today, Democrats in the Iowa Senate reelected Michael Gronstal of Council Bluffs as their leader.Gronstal says while Senate Republicans intend to press for reform of the absentee balloting process, Democrats will resist. He says there have been no identified cases of fraud, and they had the highest turnout in a non-presidential year. Gronstal says they believe the absentee program is a success. Democrats had hoped to seize a majority of seats in the Senate, but failed. Therefore Republicans control the debate agenda in both the House and the Senate.
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